In a shocking incident at Matanzas High School in Florida, teacher Joan Naydich endured a brutal attack by a student, Brendan Depa, after she intervened to stop him from playing video games in class. Months after the assault, Naydich reveals she is grappling with both physical and financial challenges, prompting her to rely on donations to make ends meet.
The disturbing incident occurred in February when Naydich, attempting to enforce discipline, prevented the then 17-year-old Depa from playing his Nintendo Switch during class. The confrontation escalated as Depa violently attacked Naydich, throwing her to the ground and repeatedly striking her back and head. The harrowing footage also captured Depa attempting to kick Naydich while being restrained.
Depa, now facing a first-degree felony charge of aggravated battery, has pleaded guilty, and his sentencing is scheduled for January. He potentially faces up to 30 years in prison, a sentence that Naydich reportedly desires for the teen who assaulted her.
Reflecting on the aftermath of the attack, Naydich spoke to Fox 35, stating, “I was attacked on February 21st, and I feel like I’m just constantly being attacked.” She described the incident as life-altering, leaving her physically and emotionally transformed. Naydich highlighted that some of her injuries, though not visible, will affect her for the rest of her life.
Financially, Naydich has faced hardships in resolving her workers’ compensation case, complicating her return to work. Although she returned in August under a different title, Naydich claims she was placed on unpaid leave a few days later. This unexpected setback has forced her to rely on the generosity of donors while she seeks alternative sources of income.
To support Naydich, a GoFundMe page was initiated by her friend Jessica, raising over $117,000 at the time of writing. Jessica detailed Naydich’s dedication to her family, describing her as a mother of two, working tirelessly at two jobs. She emphasized Naydich’s humility and reluctance to seek help, making the fundraiser a way for friends, acquaintances, and well-wishers to contribute to her recovery.
The challenges Naydich faces extend beyond the physical and emotional toll of the assault, underscoring the broader issues teachers can encounter in the aftermath of traumatic incidents. As Naydich navigates the complexities of her situation, the support from the community becomes a crucial lifeline, providing both financial assistance and a sense of solidarity in her journey towards healing and recovery.